When the German government announced it would phase out nuclear energy within the decade, many wondered how they would replace a source that provides one-quarter of the country's current energy demand. Would fossil fuels meet the demand? Were renewable energy technologies capable of filling the void?
According to the Germany Environment Ministry, there is an answer. The Ministry has published a draft of proposed legislation, the "10 Point Immediate Action Programme" that shows the government will indeed attempt to have renewable energy fill the nuclear power void, as well as become the nation's major energy source. In particular, German administration is looking to strengthen the incentives for the offshore wind industry.
Currently, Germany has 27.2-gigawatts of onshore turbines, but only 48.3 megawatts of offshore wind power. In order to jump-start this industry, the government will be announcing a new offshore wind power initiative within its new action program. Within the new scheme, the KfW development bank will make €5 billion available for wind farm financing, with a maximum funding allowance of €700 million per project. The bank aims to fund the construction of 10 new wind farms.
Additionally, the government plans to extend the guaranteed above-market rates offshore wind parks receive for their energy from 2015 to 2018. Onshore wind farms, on the other hand, will see their rates slide from 2% to 1.5% starting in 2012. The Environment Ministry has also included another incentive for utilities to generate energy from offshore wind farms -- those that receive power from an offshore wind park by 2015 will receive a 2 euro cent per kilowatt-hour bouns.
The Action Programme will also scrap further cuts to solar subsidies which the government had considered. Instead, it will maintain a system which cuts solar feed-in tariffs by 9% annually.
Germany has set targets to boost its renewable energy production to 35% of the country's energy consumption by 2020; 50% by 2030; and 80% by 2050.
The country has a goal of generating 25 GW of offshore wind power by 2020. At the moment, nuclear energy provides Germany with 150 terrawatt hours per year. It is estimated that 25 GW of wind power would produce 100 terawatts per year. The European Wind Energy Association reports that offshore wind installations in Europe grew 51% in 2010, rising from 582 MW installed in 2009 to 883 MW last year.
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